David Marrero, PhD, professor of health promotion sciences at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is the 2021 recipient of the American Diabetes Association’s Richard Rubin Award, given to a researcher who has made innovative contributions to the study and understanding of the behavioral aspects of diabetes.
“I am extremely honored to have received the Richard Rubin Award,” Dr. Marrero said. “Richard was a close personal friend of mine and was instrumental in helping focus my research on the many behavioral issues that are inherent in living with diabetes. His legacy serves as a reminder that helping persons with diabetes is more than chasing clinical numbers; it demands that we strive to understand and integrate the psychosocial aspects of those who deal with diabetes into our treatment support.”
Dr. Marrero is a noted expert in diabetes education and research. His broader interests are in improving prevention and care of chronic disease for people who experience health disparities, especially in diabetes, mental health and cancer. His clinical interests include diabetes, obesity and coping.
“As a person with type 1 diabetes for 45 years, I have a personal appreciation for the importance of the behavioral aspects of diabetes and how such issues impact the complexity of helping others to achieve their personal and clinical goals,” Dr. Marrero said. “My training in social ecology has helped me to look at personal, social, community and policy levels to develop intervention strategies to improve health.”
Dr. Marrero’s current work focuses on diabetes prevention among women and children of Hispanic descent who have elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes. His research interests also include strategies for promoting diabetes prevention, improving diabetes care practices used by primary care providers, medication adherence, translational medicine, and the use of technology to facilitate care and education.
“I am particularly proud of my work in understanding how to prevent type 2 diabetes, which is predominately a behavioral intervention, and making intervention programs more accessible to those in need by engaging community partners, such as the YMCA,” Dr. Marrero said. “These efforts truly integrate the behavioral aspects of diabetes and translate this science into the broader public health. This is vital if we are going to reduce the epidemic of diabetes.”
Twice awarded the Allene Von Son Award for Diabetes Patient Education Tools by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Dr. Marrero was recognized in 2008 as the Outstanding Educator in Diabetes by the American Diabetes Association, and in 2016 served as the president for health care and education of the American Diabetes Association.